Writing a book is indeed a long drawn, at times painful and at most times a very fulfilling event. My 6th book ‘Voices from the Grassroots’ took a few years in the making. From being disparate blog articles written on the spur of the moment to stringing them all together took time. This would not have been possible without the support and constant push that I got from two of my interns – two people who worked with me for nearly a year. Somya Bajaj (now doing her Masters in Public Policy in Princeton) and Shwetha (now a researcher in Azim Premji University) did the initial work of curating and collating the articles. Shwetha also did the first round of editing and helped me shape the first draft of the manuscript. Several friends helped in the editing – from my wife Bindu, my sister-in-law Ms Vidya, Dr (Brig) Rajan, Sampath, Sangeeta Menon, Prof Govind Sharma, Lijo Chacko, Mahesh Jambardi and several others. Each person had a view and gave some very valuable inputs which have been integrated into the final book. It was also read by several students and people representing other potential reader groups and their inputs were factored in too.
The book was possible only because of the people whom I learnt from and have written about in this and my earlier book. Writing the various anecdotes was the first step. Filling in the emotions that I had experienced was something that words would not do adequate justice to. And that is when we thought about simple sketches to capture them. The soul of the book are in these sketches and they were drawn by two young people – Manasa Rao and her cousin Dashar.
My earlier experience of crowd sourcing the funds for ‘i, the citizen’ gave me the confidence to do the same for this book too. Again the support from friends and well wishers was more than encouraging. We had collected enough money to run the first print of 4000 copies. What was special for this book was the fact that the tribal women entrepreneurs of the Ragi products unit in Jaganakotehadi tribal colony also contributed their mite The book now had to go thru the design and the layout. This is where Rohit Shetti and his friend Deepak Mote worked their magic. Rohit always set high standards in everything that he did and it is reflected in this book too. The book was finally print ready.
Now that the book was ready, all that remained was the printing and the formal launch. I was keen on getting a printer who saw this not as just another job to execute but as a work of art. Sampath, a enterprising young man delivered on this without compromising on either the quality or renegotiating the deadline agreed to.
The launch was an event that I will always cherish. The former Prime Minister, Shri H D Devegowda couldn’t make it due to the ongoing parliament session, and the book was launched by Dr K Kasturirangan who also spoke eloquently about the book. Bhaskar Bhat, the MD of Titan Company Ltd was the guest of honour and Justice M N Venkatachaliah, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India presided over the function. All their speeches were touching and was uniformly appreciated by the very enlightened audience who had assembled. All in all, it was a memorable day and the event felt more like a ‘Satsang’ than a book launch. The video of the Bengaluru launch event can be seen here.
The launch of the book in Mysuru is now scheduled for the 14th of August at Windchimes and the entire event is sponsored by S K Sanjay who insisted that we have it in his place. Niranjana Vanalli, a well known writer and professor of journalism at the University of Mysuru and R Guru, the Chairman of NR Group will be the guests for the event. I also take this opportunity to invite all friends and well wishers to attend this event too and make us re-live the special warmth and joy that we experienced at Bengaluru.